Online retail sales growth slows sharply on Thanksgiving Day

Tero Kuittinen
November 29, 2013
Online retail sales growth slows sharply on Thanksgiving Day

IBM reports that Thanksgiving Day online retail sales increased by 11% over last year’s level. Despite the double-digit growth, this is actually a steep drop-off compared to years past. In 2012, Thanksgiving Day online sales increased by 32% over 2011. The pace of growth has thus dropped to just one-third of where it was a year earlier. Is this a sign of soft Black Friday sales to come? We’ll find out soon enough.

Browsing increased even more sharply than buying: North American retail web site page views peaked 43% higher than they did in 2012. And mobile platforms are becoming the engine of online retail growth — purchases originating from tablets and smartphones hit 38% of overall sales, up sharply from 31% a year earlier.

iOS devices remain the powerhouse platform of American online retail. Apple’s mobile devices accounted for nearly 19% of all online sales, while Android’s share was just 4.7%. This fits the ownership patterns of the devices; studies have found that iPads tend to be particularly common in households with annual income higher than $100,000, while Android tablets are more popular in low-income families.

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